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TedXHilton Head


Community Foundation of the Lowcountry recently sponsored the second TEDxHiltonHeadWomen conference. The independently organized TED event brings together local speakers to share their ideas on issues important to women.

The theme for this year’s event, held Dec. 1 at Poseidon Coastal Cuisine & Rooftop Bar in Shelter Cove Towne Centre, was “Showing Up.” The daylong conference was divided into three sessions: “Making Plans,” “Showing Up” and “Standing Up.” In between sessions, instructor Karen Verechia led the group through yoga stretches and retailer Birdie James hosted a fashion show. The conference also featured a screening of “TEDWoman,” which included talks by Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta.

Twelve women were selected from a pool of applicants to address the gathering. Gold-Level Toastmaster Laura Hill opened with a reading of Maya Angelou’s poem “Phenomenal Woman” because she said it fit the message the event was trying to convey.

“I think Maya’s poem makes women stand up a little taller and walk a little sassier and also understand that it is the small things we do that make us phenomenal,” Hill said.

Dr. Debi Lynes was the master of ceremonies; she is a longtime island resident and has 30 years of experience as an interior designer and 18 years in private counseling. She enthusiastically welcomed the audience and introduced each speaker.

Here are excerpts from each speakers’ presentation, in order of appearance:

Kathryn Mademann, international image and style consultant: “Our self-esteem is low. The good news is it’s fixable.”

Jennifer Hogue, perspective analyst and motivational speaker: “I realize that my life was scheduled, but I never scheduled my life. How can I break out of this? How can I do just a little bit more? That’s when it came to me: Comfort zone busters.”

Lisa Berry, technology liaison, product owner and entrepreneur: “Lessons and mentoring I received enabled me to be the person I was meant to be. I may be a woman in a field that is male-dominated, but I learned to speak up even when I thought no one was listening.”

Lisette Cifaldi, director of strategic partnerships: “Make gratitude a habit of your life — linger in the moment of your blessings.”

Susannah Joy Winters, small business owner: “To be successful, I had to add three restorative activities. Stillness in silence for five minutes a day. Movement — walking, dancing, yoga, jumping jacks — this creates endorphins. Ten minutes a day makes a difference. Nature will improve your mood and reduce stress. Simply go outside.”

Christy Baroni, Creator, THRIVE Fitness & Nutrition coach, ISSA elite trainer: “Social media content is increasing your anxiety. Stream classical music, breathe for a few minutes, tell your body you’re ready for rest … power in your habits!”

Jodi Randisi, author, speaker, educator: “Is there someone out there calling your name? By simply showing up, you simply open the door to someone’s heart!”

Elaine Gallagher Adams, architect, professor of architecture: “Sustainability is living in a way that allows us to thrive in perpetuity. Global sustainability is a big, fat, hairy challenge and there are a lot of us working on this problem.”

Amanda O’Nan, high school principal: “I tell my students to learn how to play the game of life. Another thing I tell my students is quit using excuses and labels — we’ve all got them. It’s not a crutch, it’s a springboard.”

Ree Williams, small business development expert, master business coach: “My goal in working with women is to get them to embrace their truth and in embracing their truth creating strategies and helping them show up first for themselves with no apologies, and then for their families, for their jobs, for their communities and for their businesses.”

Aja Moon, certified life coach, author, and empowerment advocate: “I don’t like your friends — anxiety, depression and fear. But truthfully, these are your best friends. You’ve been hanging out with these guys for a long time. And I’m here to tell you: That has got to stop right now!”

Heather Collins, cognitive neuroscientist: “It’s not an intelligence problem. It’s not a personality trait problem. It’s a memory problem. When we lack confidence, it’s because we are uncertain that we will succeed. Memory pulls us out of confusion, angst, uncertainty and into confidence.”